Destinations - India

"The Taj is very impressive in photographs but is truly breathtaking in real life."

Chris from our Merthyr branch tells us in his own words about his trip to India.

Words: Chris Allen, The Travel House Merthyr

I have just returned to the UK after a fantastic trip around India. I followed the classic Golden Triangle route which takes you to major points of interest and includes Delhi, Agra & Jaipur. I flew into New Dehli, where my experience began. India is all that you imagine it to be, a crazy, colourful explosion of the modern world mixed with the traditional India of yester year. Nothing can prepare you for the wonderful sights, sounds and smells this amazing country has to offer.

New Delhi had so many sites to see including Humayuns Tomb. The tomb, built in 1570, is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It is now world heritage listed. It inspired several major architectural innovations including construction of the Taj Mahal.

From Dehli I took an express train through the Rajasthan countryside to its capital Jaipur. Train journeys are not for the faint hearted in India, these trains are not to be confused with the same standard of rail travel in the UK. There are a number of class levels available so you can pick which best suits your needs. Although this may not be for everyone, I would encourage you to step off the beaten track and to venture outside of your comfort zone. There are so many wonderful experienced that will be missed if you don't take the time to explore.

Jaipur is a busy city filled with many bazaars selling jewellery, textiles and local arts and crafts. There are a number of palaces here that you can visit including Hawa Mahal, Palace of the Winds. It got its name because it was essentially a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivals while unseen from the outside.

Bahamas A visit to the Amber Fort is highly recommended when in Jaipur, it is set 4 kilometres outside Jaipur on a hill top with great views overlooking the Maota Lake.

Built with red sandstone and marble, the fort is also known as the Amber Palace. This attractive palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard of it's own. The palace was the residence of the Rajput Maharajas and their families. As you walk around the fort you can get a real feel for how it must have been to live in these magnificent surroundings.

From Jaipur I headed off to a Agra. I stayed at a heritage site which was an old Maharajas family home that has been converted for guests. During the evening I took a walk through the local village and spoke to the locals where I learned about rural Indian life off the tourist trail.

Bahamas You cannot go to Agra and not visit one of the wonders of the world. The Taj Mahal was a total highlight of my trip. The Taj Mahal has been a world UNESCO heritage site since1983. The Taj was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan as a tomb for his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died giving birth to their 14th child. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 42-acre complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house. It is set in formal gardens where they both met for the first time. They now both have their final resting place as the emperor was also laid to rest here. The Taj is very impressive in photographs but is truly breathtaking in real life.

When you enter the site you catch a glimpse of this true wonder through a dark arch way. Each pillar is perfectly symmetrical which is incredible when you think of when it was constructed.

There was once an image of Princess Diana sitting in front of the Taj, this is now fondly referred to as Diana's bench. I did try to replicate the classic Princess Diana photo but there were a few other people in the picture with me, but no wonder with 2 – 4 million visitors each year.

I had an amazing time in India and feel as if I have just scratched the surface. There are so many options available to travellers, from backpacking and escorted tours to beach breaks in Goa. Whatever you're looking for The Travel House can help you plan your perfect holiday.

To find more about India or to book your holiday please call us on 01792 293744

Article Reference: 000105